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Department of Radiation Oncology

Department of Radiation Oncology

Advanced Treatment Machines


The UC Davis Department of Radiation Oncology prides itself on being a leader in providing state-of-the-art, high-tech treatment machines that give patients the best chance in their fight against cancer. The combination of the TomoTherapy, Gamma Knife and Elekta Synergy machines at the UC Davis Department of Radiation Oncology means that we have broad capabilities in treating patients whose options may have been limited at other institutions.

Elekta Synergy

Elekta Synergy is an innovative digital linear accelerator integrated with a suite of advanced imaging tools specifically designed for image guided radiation therapy (IGRT). Elekta Synergy comes from years of research.  It was produced in response to the challenges associated with precision in radiation therapy. Elekta Synergy technology allows clinicians to address set-up challenges and organ motion issues. It helps reduce margins, increase dose and improve outcomes for many patients treated at the UC Davis Cancer Center.

Elekta Synergy S

Elekta Synergy is the newest linear accelerator at UC Davis. The Synergy S combines a linear accelerator with an integrated 3-D volume imaging system that allows physicians to visualize the target at the time and point of treatment. With this new technology, UC Davis now has three advanced machines capable of image guided radiotherapy (IGRT) and intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). The Synergy S uses state-of-the-art precision technology to treat tumors, lesions and malformations throughout the body, as well as sites in the brain that are not accessible to the Gamma Knife.

Since organs may shift naturally — during breathing, for example — affecting the exact location of the tumor or target, the Synergy S allows clinicians to make immediate adjustments in the patient's position to ensure that the radiation dose hits its precise target and little of the surrounding healthy tissue. The ability to make necessary changes at the time of treatment is also an advantage because the tumor may have changed shape or size since a previous treatment. The precise nature of the Synergy S means that many patients who were not candidates for older methods of radiation therapy may now receive treatment.

Gamma Knife

The Leksell Gamma Knife is a highly precise tool used to target small tumors or neural tissues in the brain. This procedure focuses radiation to specific targets in the brain, preserving the surrounding, healthy tissue. The treatment is so precise that it if often called Gamma Knife “surgery,” but no surgical incisions are made. It is both non-invasive and painless. UC Davis was one of the first facilities to offer this sophisticated treatment, and has performed several hundred Gamma Knife surgeries over the past decade.


The Department of Radiation Oncology employs the extremely accurate TomoTherapy system to treat certain kinds of cancer. The improved precision, imaging and delivery method of the TomoTherapy machine helps to treat certain cancers more effectively, reducing side effects for some patients, and producing cutting-edge cancer treatment research.

TomoTherapy unites patient imaging and radiation delivery, allowing physicians to verify the exact location and size of a tumor just moments before each treatment. Patients benefit both from the more comfortable environment and the painless and precise radiation delivered according to a carefully customized plan. TomoTherapy combines 3-D imaging from computerized tomography (CT) scanning with highly targeted radiation beams, so the radiation dose can be stronger and more healthy tissue is saved. During the treatment, radiation intensity can be continuously adjusted, directing low doses to certain areas of the body and higher doses to others in accordance to the cancer and its location, and the size and density of the treatment area.